No run total is safe.
Desert Vista softball trailed by eight runs going into its final at bat against rival Mountain Pointe, and had no chance for a comeback.
Or did they?
The Thunder produced five straight hits for six runs, all with no outs. But the damage the Pride inflicted early on was too much, and Desert Vista’s comeback fell short in a 13-11 win for Mountain Pointe on Tuesday at Desert Vista High School.
Pride coach Jim Bradford said he was happy with the win despite surrendering six runs in the final inning.
“Any way to win is a win,” Bradford said. “I don’t care how we do it as long as we win.”
The Pride made a comeback of their own in the second inning. The Thunder took a 5-1 lead after Brooke Hughes smashed a two-run double in the first inning, but Mountain Pointe (14-12 overall, 10-4 in power rankings) answered in the third inning with three runs.
Tegan Wambold brought in the first run with an RBI double in the right-center field gap. Ana Howard followed Wambold with a two-RBI single to bring the score to 5-4.
Desert Vista (10-12, 7-9) went down in order in the fourth inning, but the Pride bats went right back to work in the bottom half of the inning.
Mountain Pointe produced six runs on four hits and four walks. The inning was capped by back-to back home runs from Hannah Hoban and Mercedes Lopez.
Hoban came to plate with the bases loaded, and took a 2-2 fastball from Thunder pitcher Kylee Wiegl and crushed it over the left-center field wall for a grand slam.
Lopez followed with a solo homer to right, giving the Pride a 10-5 lead.
“I was just thinking opposite field, on the ground,” Hoban said of her home run at bat approach. “She threw me a meatball right down the middle, and I did what I could with it.”
Brenna Cundary brought in Mountain Pointe’s final run in the sixth on an RBI single for a 13-5 lead.
Madison Kelly started the Desert Vista rally in the bottom of the seventh with an infield single. The next two hitters also followed with infield singles to load the bases.
Kiara Kennedy and Tyra Craig followed with RBI hits to make it 13-9.
“The lead helped us, but those throwing errors,” Bradford said. We’ve talked about it all year, fundamentals. Catching throwing, fielding, hitting fundamentals, all of that. That’s what’s going to make us successful. Throwing errors led to the big inning. We have to be able to follow through with fundamentals.”
After a strikeout and a line out, the Thunder added their final two runs on a double from MacKenzie Moore.
Hoban got the final out of the game, getting Michaela Duarte to ground out to short for the win.
Bradford said every game is important, but a rivalry game means so much more. Mountain Pointe’s eight-run lead at the end of the game may have not been safe, but an undefeated record against rival Desert Vista in 2014 is.
“Your rival is always a must win,” Bradford said. “I know that Coach (K’Lee) Arredondo believes it. You’ve got to beat your rivals. This is a backyard rivalry, everybody knows everybody. This was a must win.”
Young is a Gilbert-based freelancer.